Last summer I wrote a gentle letter to my community trying to offer words that can describe the pain of being single while the rest of your community moves on without you. I was honest and vulnerable about the reality of how hard single life can be. I’ve also written about how demeaning it is when married people go on about their spouse not being their soulmate.
Today I need to address another aspect of singleness. Bloggers, books, conferences, and how-to’s.
I stumbled across a blog and book by a young married couple telling me that real men don’t text. After reading numerous posts and excerpts from the book I started getting really angry. Because you know what? Their conversation only contributed to the shame culture that already exists around being a single Christian past 25.
The most infuriating thing about all of this is that these young married couples (in general) are deciding they are the experts on dating, relationships, and how to find your spouse. Why? Because they somehow “got it right?” Because they ended their singleness early on? Because they did things the way God intends?
So they go on and on about how a real man will pick up the phone and call. That I deserve a man who has his future figured out to some extent. That he isn’t really interested if he isn’t being intentional. That I need to wait to be pursued. That I shouldn’t been too much or too little. That it’s okay or not okay to ask where things are going. On and on and on.
Here’s the honest truth:
I don’t mind being asked out on a date via text message. I feel no less valuable or worthy of pursuit or special if he asks me to go out the next day or two days later. It doesn’t mean I’m always available but it doesn’t bother me if he does that! I actually feel LESS anxious if a man asks me out via text or email or whatever than on the phone or in person. I don’t like to talk on the phone. The chances I’ll answer your call or listen to your voicemail are slim. So by all means, text away.
I understand that these books and bloggers and conferences and every other freaking resource for single people are seeing a trend in culture that trust me, as a single woman, I ABSOLUTELY know exists. I appreciate that you’re speaking up and saying there’s a problem. But you know what you’re actually doing? You’re telling me I deserve something that doesn’t currently exist and telling me to wait for it until it comes.
You’re telling me to wait for your version of a fairy-tale.
But then if I find a guy who does text to ask me out or doesn’t pursue me as well as everyone thinks that somehow I’m settling for less than what I deserve. If I was a man, I wouldn’t come near the type of entitled women you’re telling us to be. I know my worth and value lie in the Lord. If I truly believe those things, I’m NOT going to accept a man who makes me feel less than that by his words or actions.
But YOU don’t get to tell me what the standard should be.
You aren’t lying in an empty bed. You aren’t alone at your grandpa’s funeral. You aren’t sitting next to an empty chair at Christmas. You aren’t constantly ignoring the ache of being alone. You aren’t wondering if you’ll ever even get the chance to be in a place in your life if you can have kids… because kids typically require a spouse. You aren’t navigating tough decisions on your own. You aren’t and you probably haven’t had to… at least for very long.
I still am.
We still are.
So you know you CAN speak to me about singleness? SINGLE PEOPLE. Or married people who lived through those many years of loneliness wondering if and not when a spouse may come. The people who sit or sat through family gatherings year after year watching more cousins and siblings find a life partner. The people who wrestle with desperately crying out to the Lord not to be left alone in this journey but if they are that He would be nearest of all to them in their alone-ness.
Those are the people that can tell me what I do and don’t deserve.